Skills 4 Smart TCLF Industries 2030 (S4TCLF)

The Skills4SmartTCLF (S4TCLF) was an Erasmus+ blueprint for sectoral cooperation on skills with the aim to enhance the modernisation and competitiveness of the EU Textile, Clothing, Leather, and Footwear (TCLF) sectors through the development of a sustainable upskilling and reskilling strategy.


Start: 01/01/2018

End: 30/06/2022


Textile, Clothing, Leather, and Footwear

  • C13 - Manufacture of textiles
  • C131 - Preparation and spinning of textile fibres
  • C1310 - Preparation and spinning of textile fibres
  • C132 - Weaving of textiles
  • C1320 - Weaving of textiles
  • C133 - Finishing of textiles
  • C1330 - Finishing of textiles
  • C139 - Manufacture of other textiles
  • C1391 - Manufacture of knitted and crocheted fabrics
  • C1392 - Manufacture of made-up textile articles, except apparel
  • C1393 - Manufacture of carpets and rugs
  • C1394 - Manufacture of cordage, rope, twine and netting
  • C1395 - Manufacture of non-wovens and articles made from non-wovens, except apparel
  • C1396 - Manufacture of other technical and industrial textiles
  • C1399 - Manufacture of other textiles n.e.c.
  • C14 - Manufacture of wearing apparel
  • C141 - Manufacture of wearing apparel, except fur apparel
  • C1411 - Manufacture of leather clothes
  • C1412 - Manufacture of workwear
  • C1413 - Manufacture of other outerwear
  • C1414 - Manufacture of underwear
  • C1419 - Manufacture of other wearing apparel and accessories
  • C142 - Manufacture of articles of fur
  • C1420 - Manufacture of articles of fur
  • C143 - Manufacture of knitted and crocheted apparel
  • C1431 - Manufacture of knitted and crocheted hosiery
  • C1439 - Manufacture of other knitted and crocheted apparel
  • C15 - Manufacture of leather and related products
  • C151 - Tanning and dressing of leather; manufacture of luggage, handbags, saddlery and harness; dressing and dyeing of fur
  • C1511 - Tanning and dressing of leather; dressing and dyeing of fur
  • C1512 - Manufacture of luggage, handbags and the like, saddlery and harness
  • C152 - Manufacture of footwear
  • C1520 - Manufacture of footwear
Belgium, Bulgaria, France, Greece, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain
Scope of the project

The TCLF sector was part of complex and interlinked value chains of fashion, high-end industries and relevant innovative technologies. However, despite innovation and creativity, the TCLF industry faces increasing skill gaps and shortages, primarily due to its ageing workforce, a mismatch between education and industry's needs, technological change and low levels of worker mobility. In addition, the sector suffers from an image problem that causes difficulties in attracting recruits, especially younger workers, creating significant skills gaps along the entire supply value chain. To tackle these challenges, the Skills4Smart TCLF Industries 2030 Blueprint, comprising 22 private and public stakeholders from nine different EU countries, combined efforts to improve the skills intelligence in the TCLF sectors and to provide a strategy that can serve as an instrument to address skills shortages in the industry. More specifically, the scope of the project consisted of the following:

  • developing eight training programmes (MOOCs) for companies and VET providers in TCLF corresponding to eight job profiles ;
  • upgrading the image of careers in the TCLF sectors to attract new workers, with a particular focus on youngsters;
  • developing a common EU-wide Sectoral Skills Strategy for the TCLF industries supported by a committed community of public and private actors across Europe. 
  • The identification of concrete actions and tools to anticipate and match skill supply with demand;
  • The improvement of skills and intelligence by creating networks and partnerships;
  • The enhancement of the attractiveness of the sector to engage newcomers, companies, families and policymakers at regional, national and EU levels;
  • The creation of a network of VET providers, public authorities, and other stakeholders working together on skills development for the modernisation and growth of these sectors;
  • The engagement of regions and private stakeholders by promoting skills and innovation in TCLF sectors to ensure the sustainability of the project outcomes.
Short description

The Skills4SmartTCLF (S4TCLF) Blueprint project aimed at enhancing the modernisation and competitiveness of the EU Textile, Clothing, Leather, and Footwear (TCLF) sectors through the development of a sustainable upskilling and reskilling strategy, supported by a communication campaign to attract social, economic and political actors.

The S4TCLF project carried out thorough research of international scope whose results laid the ground for adapting the current provision of skills to the actual industry needs, thus helping to bridge the existing mismatch in the TCLF industries in the EU. At the same time, S4TCLF aimed to create synergies among all the target groups (industry, VET providers and national/regional authorities, students and potential employees). The project led to the development of a Sectoral Skills Strategy, the production of the eight new or updated curricula/MOOC, the creation of the European Virtual Fashion Campus and the implementation of various activities such as the School Orientation Days and the production of a short documentary to showcase the attractive careers that the TCLF industries can offer.

Find out more on the project's website at https://s4tclfblueprint.eu/

Key findings

The Sectoral Skills Strategy lies in the profound analysis of secondary and primary research materials that allowed to evaluate and present the most up-to-date drivers of change affecting the industry (which include such factors as environmental, technological, political, economic, demographic and social) as well as their level of impact on the sector. Secondly, within the Sectoral Skills Strategy, five distinctive scenarios of how the industries will look like in 2030 were developed, and it is one of the few examples of scenarios that would focus on the European sectors, from the context of production, job, and skills needs and not trends in the consumption.

The five scenarios - Renaissance of the Craft, Selective Leadership, A Brave New World, Walled Gardens, and Industrial Sunset - not only imply differing potential future employment levels, but also diverging occupational profiles and skill needs, depending on the direction of developments in the TCFL industries.

The aim is  for TCLF stakeholders at the European, national, and regional levels to use the Strategy as a toolbox when developing Sectoral Skills Strategies for the TCLF industries in the coming years. To further facilitate such a process, the document includes a selection of recommendations for industry, education, and policy representatives that will align with the forecasted scenarios and help adjust the industry to upcoming changes.

Aside from the development of the European-level Sectoral Skills Strategy, project partners assessed the status of stakeholder collaboration and sectoral skills strategy development and implementation and developed national sectoral skills strategies for each of the nine partner countries (Belgium, Bulgaria, France, Greece, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Romania, and Spain). The EU-level and the national strategies should equip the industries with the means to successfully address their current and future skill needs to ultimately increase the competitiveness and attractiveness of the TCLF companies as strategic and reliable providers of economic added value and high-quality employment that present career opportunities in the EU countries, regions, and local communities in which they operate.

The project also developed eight courses based on the identification of eight high-demanded job profiles for the sector. The courses provide significant added value to the current education offer available on the market as they respond to the TCLF industries' latest needs (i.e. increase in the need for online courses due to the COVID-19 pandemic) and also to future ones (i.e. changes in consumer demands or appearance of new regulations). It is also noteworthy that three of the eight MOOCs, are oriented explicitly to digital skills and one to green skills. In addition, the remaining four profiles and MOOCs include new types of skills for refining existing processes and production skills.

Another noteworthy outcome produced by the project is the European Fashion Campus. This online platform is expected to foster synergies between the existing European educational forces, releasing current and newly developed knowledge and initiatives to newcomers, workers, companies, other educational centres and policymakers.